State leaders react to Jindal's budget proposal

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Governor Bobby Jindal unveiled his billion dollar budget proposal for 2011-12 and one state leader argues the cuts should go deeper.

Governor Jindal proposed to cut 4,095 state positions in addition to spending less money for state charity hospitals and "efficiencies" across state agencies.

John Kennedy, Louisiana State Treasurer, argues that the governor should cut more state jobs.

"I would go further and cut at least 5,000 jobs," said Kennedy. "If we eliminated 15,000 of them, 5,000 a year each year for the next three years that would save $1.5 billion."

Kennedy said he also disagrees with Jindal's plan to sell two state prisons.

"We got into this fix because we took one time money," said Kennedy. "We took $1.5 billion from President Obama and dumped it into the budget. That money is being spent but the expenses it paid for continue on. We've got to live within our means and we've got to balance our budget with recurring expenses and recurring revenue."

Stephen Moret, Secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, said job growth in southwest Louisiana should make up for possible jobs that could be lost.

"Lake Charles is doing very well as a well diversified economy," said Moret. "One of the things that is really helping this area is the recovery of the chemical industry thanks to somewhat of a global recovery in the economy."

Future job opportunities in the lake area that could bridge the gap include the Shaw Modular Solutions Project, the expansion of Sasol, and job growth at Aeroframe and Northrop Grumman.

Lawmakers will spend the next several months analyzing the proposal before creating the final budget.

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